or: I guess I should have said, “I want you to know that I care about you, and I think you care about me, too. I have no specific expectation for our relationship, but I do hope that we can be in each other’s lives in a capacity that is mutually gratifying. I would love to hear what you think about that.”

It’s after midnight.

A swarm of people flutter around a single porch light. We are standing under a tree, far enough away that the light can only reach one side of your face.

I have spent the entire night dancing around you. There are other people and they are celebrating something, but we are standing under a tree. We are the same height and I can look right into your eyes and find something in myself reflected back at me.

I hold your face in my hands like I’m reaching for the moon and say, “with no agenda, I care about you.”

The words dissolve and, by the time they get to you, it’s only a whisper. I am beholden to you.

Later, we are in the dark again, facing each other in your bed.

We go back and forth, sharing stories like plucking petals from a tulip. My turn, then yours, then mine again.

It’s a game of chance, and whoever holds the final petal is the winner. But this is the beginning of my life and my stories run out quickly, and then it’s your turn, then your turn again, and again. Between us is our pile of petals: mine a fistful, and yours at least double.

In the light of your moon-face, telling me all of these secret, sad things, you reinforce the spell. You are precisely nine years, ten months, and thirty days more fragile, and I will spend years of my life holding on to the fistful of petals that set us apart.

“Maybe one day…” you begin, and that mythic reciprocity forms in your mouth and dies there. Your voice trails off as you notice the sun beginning to stick its nose in through the cracks in your curtains. There’s no time for negotiation.

It’s already morning.



more to come soon...

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